Two decades ago, could any of us have predicted the future that awaited Harry Potter? One massively successful book expanded to seven, which begat a theme park, a universe’s worth of merchandising, eight films, a play, and a new tangentially related franchise. And for those fans who still want more Potter, there is Pottermore.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
The people cannot get enough Batman. He’s everywhere: he fought Superman, now he’s in the Justice League, soon he’ll return to another solo movie, and he ended up back in the news due to Adam West’s passing — we’re living in the Batman-est of all possible worlds. And those Batmaniacs clamoring for more time with the Caped Crusader before he returns in Justice League on November 17 are in luck, because Bruce Wayne and a couple familiar friends will storm nationwide theaters for a special one-night engagement this summer.
Today marks the one-year mark until we get the sequel to the 2015 box-office-crusher Jurassic World, and Universal wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion. Now look down at that glass of water you've got close at hand. Tiny ripples in the center, a distant thunderous thudding in the distance. New information is close at hand.
Boys, girls, people of all ages, the Serkis has come to town! Andy Serkis, that is. The motion-capture professional will take the lead of the neo-Planet of the Apes franchise once more on July 14 for War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter in the trilogy. At this point, audiences pretty much know what to expect: the great clash between hostile humanity and peaceable simiankind rages onward and approaches a final reckoning, as the Serkis-played chimp Caesar wrestles with the terrible responsibilities of leadership in wartime. But before audiences can revisit Apeworld for one last battle, 20th Century Fox wants to be sure we all appreciate just how much went into this film.
Funny how there aren’t any movies about creepy-looking dolls that stay inanimate. The tradition of killer miniatures is a rich and varied one, stretching from smart-mouthed icon Chucky to Twilight Zone resident Talking Tina to the gang of supremely ticked-off slave toys in Tales From the Hood’s third quarter. The unsettling lifelessness of a doll’s visage has made it a reliable source of horror in the past, and the Conjuring franchise struck its own vein of gold with the homicidal, pigtailed Annabelle. The precocious little psychopath got her own starring vehicle in 2014 with the simply-titled spinoff Annabelle, and now we’re taking a step back in time to witness her dark baptism in blood.
Spend long enough interviewing actors for a living, you start to pick little things up. For instance, whenever a performer’s discussing their most recent production and utters any variant on the phrase “it really felt like the cast and crew was one big family,” that’s a major red flag that they’re full of crap. Costars are coworkers, and usually for about six months, and that’s on the longer side. But the ladies of Pitch Perfect 3 seem to be pretty earnest when they gush about the spirit of sisterhood and camaraderie that dominated the atmosphere on set. And for those as skeptical of myself, they proved it with video evidence.
With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.
In 2012, a videotape of professional wrestler and handlebar mustache advocate Terry ‘Hulk Hogan’ Bollea engaged in sexual congress with one Heather Clem (estranged wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, in one of this story’s more surreal details) surfaced online. Looking to hold someone responsible for what he felt was a violation of privacy, Hogan moved to take legal action against both Clem and Gawker, the media aggregation web site that originally posted the tape in question. Florida’s state court turned into a battleground, not just between the Hulkster and one of the Internet’s trashier publications, but between the moneyed elite and the free press.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Do you wanna build a snowman... again? Disney sure hopes so, as they announced in a new press release today that their mega-successful Frozen would gain a sort of mini-sequel in an upcoming short to be bundled with Coco. But Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is no ordinary lead-in to the main event; it sounds like quite a bit has gone into the short that Disney repeatedly refers to as a “featurette,” running at 21 minutes and including four new songs, as well as returning cast members Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff. Parents, batten down the hatches, for a new ‘Let It Go’ is close at hand.
Netflix has been notoriously secretive about their data, whether that’s subscription demographics or the all-important individual streaming figures for specific titles. Though they’ve grown into a major player in the world of entertainment, we really have no earthly idea whether Netflix is successful or not. (They almost definitely are, unless this is the single most brazen bluff in showbiz history.) The only knowledge we have of Netflix’s inner workings comes from the occasional missive issued by content head Ted Sarandos, who made one such announcement in a recent letter to shareholders. Among the financial jargon and quarterly earnings reports, Sarandos dropped the chilling detail that Netflix’s 100 million-strong user base has collectively streamed over 500 million hours of Adam Sandler movies since The Ridiculous Six opened. Today, ScreenCrush invites you to consider the brain-collapsing enormity of that number.
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